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The accumulation pattern across Siple Dome, West Antarctica, inferred from radar-detected internal layers

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The spatial distribution of accumulation across Siple Dome, West Antarctica, is determined from analysis of the shapes of internal layers detected by radio-echo sounding(RES) measurements. A range of assumed accumulation patterns is used in an ice-flow model to calculate a set of internal layer patterns. Inverse techniques are used to determine which assumed accumulation pattern produces a calculated internal layer pattern that best matches the shape of internal layers from RES measurements. All of the observed internal layer shapes at Siple Dome can be matched usinga spatially asymmetric accumulation pattern which has been steady over time. Relative to the divide, the best-fittingaccumulation pattern predicts 40% less accumulation 30 km from the divide on the south flank of Siple Dome and 15–40% more accumulation 30 km from the divide on the north flank. The data also allow the possibility for a small time variation of the pattern north of the divide. The mismatch between the calculated and the observed layer shapes is slightly reduced when the accumulation rate north of the divide is higher in the past (> 5 kyrBP) than at present. Sensitivity tests show that the predicted change in the spatial accumulation pattern required to cause the slight Siple Dome divide migration (inferred from previous studies) would be detectable in the internal layer pattern if it persisted for > 2 kyr. Our analysis reveals no evidence that such a change has occurred, and the possible change in accumulation distribution allowed by the data is in the opposite sense. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Siple Dome divide migration has been caused by a temporal change in the spatial pattern of accumulation. This conclusion suggests the migration may be caused by elevation changes in Ice Streams C and D at the boundaries of Siple Dome.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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